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Smoother Sailing for Jersey Harbours

Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands off the southern coast of England, recently undertook a project to consolidate its control sites and upgrade its maritime communications control rooms.

They chose the Zetron DCS-5020 console system for this project. Jersey Airport Electronics Department, a state agency that manages such projects, joined with Zetron to commission and install the new system.

The challenges for Jersey Harbours

Jersey includes a coastline and territorial waters that encompass 1,288 square kilometres. St. Helier, the capital of the island, is also a busy harbour, with annual boat traffic that includes approximately 7,000 yachts per year, a fishing fleet of some 100 boats, regular ferry runs from the UK and France, and traffic from a variety of cargo ships. Jersey Harbours is the entity responsible for monitoring and managing this area and its vessel traffic.
Before the upgrade, Jersey Harbours’ communication system was spread over three sites—Jersey Radio at Corbière on the west of the island; the Sea Rescue Centre in St. Helier; and Port Harbour Control, also in St. Helier.

The recent project consolidated these locations by moving both the Marine Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) and Jersey Radio into Maritime House in St. Helier. They were then linked to Jersey Harbour Control in the Port Harbour Control tower. The project also included replacing the Zetron Model 4010 dispatch controller system that had been in operation at each of the sites since 1993.

The solution: choosing Zetron… again

The Zetron DCS-5020 TETRA Digital Console was chosen as Jersey Harbours’ solution. According to Bill Harris of Jersey Airport Electronics Department, several key people independently picked the DCS-5020: “The new Harbour Master conducted his own research to find the best system, and he recommended the DCS-5020,” says Harris. “This was lucky because that’s what we proposed as well.”

“We also chose Zetron again because the Zetron equipment we’d used before performed exceptionally well,” explains Assistant Harbour Master, Captain Paul Mimmack. “We appreciate Zetron’s experience and expertise and their ability to understand our requirements.”

The Zetron DCS-5020 handles from one to six operators, and features screen presentations that can be customised to suit customer applications. Each position includes a 15’’ touchscreen monitor, a keyboard, a compact-digital switch, and a host PC running Zetron’s Windows–based Integrator DCS operator software. The system is based on a distributed architecture that eliminates the need for a central switch, even on a system with multiple operator positions. It also includes a wide variety of audio and radio interface options.

Meeting Jersey Harbours’ requirements

Because Jersey was one of the early users of TETRA digital trunked radio, they wanted the new system to support TETRA and conventional analogue radio. The DCS-5020 provided this support. Additional features of the DCS-5020 allowed Jersey Harbours to put radio (TETRA and analogue) and telephone onto the same console. This greatly simplified the system setup. It also enabled Jersey to connect its three operator positions through fibre links and share identical information and control facilities.

Captain Mimmack used the DCS-5020 functionality to design the console screens to match operators’ exact requirements. He also used the system’s Web browser functionality to give operators easy access to emergency procedures and safety information simply by selecting a tab on the screen.

Another important feature of the DCS-5020 is its graceful degradation capability. If one controller fails, the only channels that are lost are the ones that are dedicated to that particular controller, so communications can continue on the all of the other available channels. This gives Jersey the high reliability that its mission-critical communications require.

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